In LaLiga2, the Spanish second-tier league, there are several undiscovered talents. Players like Uros Djurdjevic, Shon Weissman, and Julen Lobete dominate the competition.
But there is one player that trumps them all. Almeria striker Umar Sadiq has been lighting up LaLiga2, and his omission from the Super Eagles squad is confusing.
The Kaduna-born striker has been an unstoppable force. His seven goals and six assists should attract many headlines.
Yet, most clubs have disregarded his incredible form. Only recently have clubs like Barcelona and Newcastle noticed his breathtaking form.
Although Sadiq is worth 19 million dollars, he is yet to earn a Super Eagles cap. This could change with the incoming winter window.
TRANSFER AFTER TRANSFER
Sadiq started his career with a transfer from Abuja to Serie A side Spezia Youth. He rose through the academy before leaving on loan for AS Roma in 2015.
Sadiq played well for I Giallorossi. He scored many goals in the 15/16 Primavera season. He was even promoted to the senior squad, scoring twice in six games.
Roma opted to make the loan deal for Sadiq permanent for $2.75 million. After he signed his new contract, Roma sent him out on loan to different teams. From 2016 to 2020, Sadiq played for Bologna, Torino, NAC Breda, Rangers, Perugia, and Partizan.
The striker did not have good stints or many minutes away from Rome, so Roma wanted to keep loaning him to different clubs.
After his sixth loan deal, Partizan, a Serbian giant, made his loan deal permanent for $2.20 million. The Partizan executives may have made one of the bargains of the year.
Sadiq was a menace in the Serbian SuperLiga, much like he is in LaLiga2. He scored 23 goals and assisted 19 times in 42 games. He scored or assisted one goal a game, which is insane.
Almeria, realizing his potential, signed him after the season ended. In his first season with Almeria, Sadiq scored twenty goals and provided four assists.
This season, he has a league-high assist count, is near the top in goals, and is leading Almeria to a good finish.
His forcefulness and speed have helped the Indálicos to the top place in their league.
Sadiq is yet to play for the national team, but he has represented the U23 team. He was integral for the 2016 Nigerian Olympic Team, scoring four goals in six matches.
He led his team to the third-place game against Honduras. In the match, Sadiq scored a brace to help Nigeria win the bronze medal.
But the endless loan deals seem to have ruined Sadiq’s chances of making his debut for the Super Eagles. Despite his scintillating form at Almeria, Gernot Rohr and the NFF have not given any chances to the ex-Roma attacker.
By joining a better-known club, Sadiq could make his debut and make a name for himself.
Yet that probability is a stretch. We saw Sadiq join Rangers, but he didn’t do as well as he and the NFF would have wanted him to do.
If Sadiq joins a club like Newcastle and plays well, he should be a candidate for a call-up.
If he makes it to the squad, he will face stiff competition from players like Kelechi Iheanacho, Victor Osimhen, and Paul Onuachu. He will need to show his class and use his unique style of play to his advantage.
Sadiq uses two of his main qualities to his advantage.
The first is Sadiq’s speed. The Kaduna native can outrun defenders with his pacy play. The second is his size and target-forward-like body. Sadiq, who is 1.92 meters tall, can shove off smaller defenders with his monstrous frame.
His physique and swiftness have made him the Erling Haaland of the Segunda Division. It doesn’t hurt that Sadiq has elite ball control, exceptional hold-up play, and can put tons of force on the ball.
Sadiq is also able to draw plenty of fouls and contributes a lot on the defensive end.
A few things Sadiq needs to work on is his offsides awareness. He will need to cut down on his fouling and become a clinical finisher to become a world-class attacker.
INTEREST FROM XAVI
Unfortunately for Barca, Sergio Aguero will announce his retirement due to heart complications. New manager and club legend Xavi wants Sadiq as his replacement.
Fijaches reports that Xavi does rate love Luuk de Jong, and Sadiq could be an option to replace the Dutch striker.
But the rumour might not come to fruition. ESPN reported that Barcelona does not have many funds for the winter transfer window. Sadiq could be too expensive for the Blaugranes.
Newly-rich Newcastle does not have the offensive firepower they would like to wield. For around 20 million euros, Sadiq could be a player for the Magpies.
But Newcastle supporters have pointed to his woeful Rangers loan as proof that Sadiq should not make a move to the Premiership.
Sadiq and his side will play Huesca, a mid-table side that shouldn’t pose a real threat to the Indálicos. Sadiq will try to prove his worth, and Almeria will try to lengthen their lead with a home win on Saturday.
After a Copa del Rey clash that Sadiq might not play in, Almeria will face lowly squad Fuenlabrada.
Like against Huesca, Almeria will aim to exercise their dominance. Sadiq will attempt to show his skillset with a win at Estadio Fernando Torres.
Written by: Deolu Akingbade